|Michael White finished tied for second in the NE-10 in goals (10) and third in points (25).|
EASTON — The challenge of being a two-sport athlete at the Div. 2 college level is a demanding one.
There is a balancing act that needs to be done between the work in the classroom and the constant hopping back and forth between a pair of sports.
Michael White spent the past four years doing just that at Stonehill College, playing for the soccer team from August until early November and then the baseball team, which begins preseason workouts in January and finishes the season in May.
"I'm one of those kids who has to stay busy at all times,'' said White, who came to Stonehill in 2008 from Lisbon, N.H.. "I couldn't see myself not being busy. Soccer and baseball are the things I wanted to continue as long as I could.''
White did more than just stay busy during his double duty for the Skyhawks.
Despite keeping up a hectic pace, White excelled at both sports, earning All-East Region and All-Northeast-10 Conference honors two years in a row in soccer and baseball.
Doing a juggling act and playing a pair of sports in the course of two semesters is one thing. Putting together the kind of careers White did in soccer and baseball is a rare feat.
"It is just phenomenal that he played at such a high level,'' said Stonehill baseball coach Patrick Boen, who was a two-sport athlete at the school after graduating from Brockton High School in 1985. "People don't realize the commitment you make, especially in college now with the strength and conditioning work that goes on. He made a serious commitment.''
White was a multiple threat in baseball as a pitcher, first baseman and outfielder, going 13-8 with two saves and a 2.62 earned run average on the mound while batting .313 with 167 hits, including 27 doubles and seven home runs, in his career.
He made the All-New England team as a sophomore, was on the All-Northeast-10 conference first team as a junior and a senior and made the All-East Regional team the past two seasons.
In soccer, White had 24 goals and 11 assists in 69 games as a striker. He was tied for second in the NE-10 in goals (10) and was third in points (25) in 2011 and was tied for first with nine goals and was second with 22 points as a junior.
White was on the All-NE-10 second team as a junior and the first team last fall when he was also chosen to the All-East Region second team.
On top of all that, White recently received the Father William Gartland Award, presented annually to the top male student-athlete at Stonehill. He had a grade-point average above 3.0 throughout his stay at the school.
"It took a lot of hard work, time management skills,'' said White, a finance major who received his diploma last Sunday. "There wasn't much free time. Sometimes maybe where my friends were doing something else, I'd be getting extra swings in or going for a run or doing something extra so I wasn't missing out on anything.''
|White led the Skyhawks this season on the mound with a team-best 2.03 ERA.|
White figured he would play only baseball in college, but after having a successful soccer season during one year of prep school at Tilton, began thinking about a two-sport career.
Stonehill was the only school that encouraged White to play both sports with Boen knowing first hand that it could be pulled off.
"(Playing two sports is) actually probably the main reason why I chose Stonehill,'' said White. "I looked at other schools and they would only allow me to play one sport. Coach Boen was a two-sport athlete and he understood and allowed me to miss most of fall ball to play soccer.''
The Stonehill soccer team will be without its leading scorer next fall and the baseball team will have to replace a pitcher who was 4-2 with a 2.03 ERA and a hitter who batted .307. White played 69 of 70 soccer games in his career and appeared in 116 consecutive baseball games since April 20, 2010.
"It hit me the other day,'' said Boen. "You lose a Mike White, you are losing two players, really. He was a coach's dream.''
White said he will find baseball and soccer leagues to play in this summer to keep busy, but leaving behind what he had at Stonehill will be difficult.
"It'll be tough not playing,'' he said. "I'm still going to obviously continue to play sports, but it's going to be different not playing at a competitive level like college.''